WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SIN?
Gary Thomas, in “Sacred Marriage,” said “We are most tempted to sin when we are sinned against.”
Sin is an archery term that means “to miss the mark.” If the arrow is 20 feet away from the target, that is a “sin.” If the arrow is 1/2 inch away from the target, that is also a “sin.” Sin is anything that misses the mark of God’s holy and perfect standard. This is why we are all “wretched sinners.” None of us can live sinless and perfect lives. Only Jesus was able to do that.
- If someone sins against me, is it ok in God’s sight for me to take revenge and do something nasty back to that person?
As humans, we often think that if someone sins against us first, then we are justified to sin against that person in return – or at the very least, THINK evil things toward that person. That is not how God looks at sin. God hates all sin.He does not give us a free pass to sin when we are sinned against – or at any other time. He desires and commands us as believers to walk in the power of His grace and His Spirit so that we respond without sin, even when we are sinned against. We cannot do this in our own strength, we must be filled with God’s Spirit to have power and victory over sin.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. I John 3:14-15
- Is God responsible for making me sinful?
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15
God didn’t create people in a sinful state. He created Adam and Eve in sinless perfection. They chose to sin in Genesis 3 when they ate the fruit that God had instructed them not to eat. God did not “make us this way.” We cannot blame God for our sin. We all choose to sin and God holds us individually accountable for our choices when we are able to understand the difference between right and wrong.
- Can I blame Satan for my sin?
Satan is able to tempt us to sin. But we ultimately have the choice whether to sin or not ourselves. Before we know Christ, we sin because we are sinners. We are slaves to sin. We are spiritually dead and we have no power to have victory over sin. But Satan does not cause us to sin. God held Adam and Eve accountable for their sin even though Satan deceived Eve. God will hold Satan accountable for his sin, too. He will be eternally condemned. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 20:10
Check out James 1:13-15 again. It is our own evil desire that drags us away and entices us into sin. Ultimately, we will stand before God and be held accountable by Him for every sinful thought, word and deed if we do not belong to Christ. He will not ignore sin. There will be perfect and righteous justice against all sin.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. II Corinthians 5:10
But he (Jesus) has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:26-28
Once we have Christ as our Savior and Lord, He gives us the power of God’s Spirit to be able to walk in victory over sin. We can still choose to sin, but we long to walk in obedience to God out of thanksgiving and gratefulness for all that Jesus has done for us. We hate sin more and more because God hates sin and we love God. We don’t want to grieve His heart anymore and His grace is able to give us the power to walk in obedience to God. When we belong to God, He causes us to become more and more like Jesus. We begin to desire what He desires and we begin to look more and more like Him and to live more and more like He did. We don’t reach total sinless perfection in this life. But Jesus has the power to enable us to walk in victory over sin. We don’t have to be slaves to sin any more! WOOHOO!
That is the great news of Romans 6-8! For a detailed explanation of these concepts, check out Watchman Nee’s “The Normal Christian Life.”
- Am I responsible for the sins of other people?
I am NOT responsible for my husband’s sin (or for the sins of other grown adults). He is responsible and accountable to God for that himself.
Some women think that because I ask women to own their own sin, that I am saying women are responsible for “all of the problems in a marriage.”
NO!!!!!! Not at all! (Again, please refer to James 1:13-15.)
– We are responsible for our sin, our wrong motives, our disobedience against God’s Word, our obedience to God and our spiritual growth in Christ. We can make it more tempting for our husbands to sin when we sin in certain ways. We can set “stumbling blocks” before them. Or we can make it easier for our husbands to hear God’s voice when we obey God ourselves. But each person makes his/her own choices. (This would also be true for husbands.)
Each individual will stand before God to give an account for himself or herself. In fact, we will answer for “every careless word spoken.” We will also answer for the hidden motivations of our hearts.
But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10
We can create a stumbling block that can be something that makes someone else trip. We are responsible for not causing another person to stumble into sin.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. Romans 14:3 (The chapter of Romans 14 is all about this topic!)
– It is possible for someone to lead children into sin. That person will be held accountable by God.
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly (humble) position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! Matthew 18:3-7
- I am responsible for MY sin and MY obedience to God.
The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. Ezekiel 18:20
There is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Romans 6:23
- Our sin is primarily against God. He is the One we hurt and offend the most.
“Against You and You alone have I sinned…” Psalm 51:4 (David repenting to God of his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband.)
PRAISE GOD THERE IS HOPE AND HELP AVAILABLE FOR ALL OF US. EACH OF US MUST RECEIVE IT INDIVIDUALLY.
The only way we can be righteous (be made right with God) is for us to receive, by faith, the gift of Jesus’ death on our behalf and His Lordship – we receive His grace. He laid down His life for us, now we lay down our lives for Him, giving up our own will and our desires, seeking His will and His desires. We give up being on the throne of our lives, and we place Jesus on the throne of our lives, giving Him full control. Then His righteousness is credited to our account, and when God looks at us, He sees His Son’s holy perfection. (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 6-8)
God allows me to decide how much I will submit to Him and how much of His Spirit I will allow in my life and how much control I will surrender to Him. Do I only want a trickle of Him, or do I want Niagra Falls? That is totally up to me. Of course, if I belong to Him, I will want more and more of Him. I am responsible to seek to grow in Christ and to desire Him more and more.
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13
God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6
I must get rid of my pride in order to receive God’s grace, or God sees me as His enemy. The proud don’t think they need help or grace from God. They think they can handle things on their own. They often lift themselves above other and may even exalt themselves above God, as I used to in my heart. This is a very dangerous place to be! Total humility before God is the key to our ability to approach God and receiving His grace. If I hang on to pride, I am at war with God, Himself.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10
- I cannot change my husband or anyone else.
- I cannot force anyone to come to Christ. Jesus, Himself, does not do this.
- I cannot take responsibility for another person’s sin on my shoulders.
- I cannot make anyone obey God. God gives all of us free will.
- I cannot make my husband or anyone else love me.
- I cannot stop my husband from leaving if he decides to. The more I try to force him to stay, the more likely he will be to go. (I Corinthians 7)
- I cannot keep my husband (or anyone else) from sinning in his behavior or in his thoughts. Apart from God’s power, I can’t even keep myself from sinning. Who do I think I am that I would be qualified or appointed to try to keep my husband from sinning?
- I cannot change my husband’s personality or priorities.
- God changes people, not me.
WHAT I CAN DO IN CHRIST:
I can influence my husband (A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage), but my husband answers to God for his sin and his obedience or lack of obedience to God. He also answers to God for his stewardship of being in the position of spiritual authority in the marriage and family.
I can obey God myself and abide in the power of Christ. I focus on His Word to me, humbling myself before Him, what He desires me to do, keeping my heart pure before Him, confessing any sin in my life, allowing Him access to the darkest corners of my soul and living in total submission to Christ. Then I do all I can not to be a stumbling block and to make it easier for my husband to hear God’s voice. I am cooperating with God and doing things His way, seeking His will and His glory in my husband’s life and in our marriage.
I trust Him in His sovereignty to deal with my husband and other people. He will repay and hold others accountable for sin against me. Yes, there may be times I may need to confront my husband or others about their sin. And there may be times I need to leave if I or my children are not safe (I Corinthians 7). But ultimately, either the person who sinned against me will pay for his/her own sin in hell one day (which I REALLY do NOT want to happen), or they will receive the mercy, forgiveness and grace Jesus offers to them on the cross and Jesus will pay that sin debt. There may also be earthly consequences for sin, as well. How I long for everyone to find the blood of Jesus to cleanse each of us from our sin and to give us peace with God and peace with ourselves and with others.
Justice will be served. Punishment will be given against all sin. Either people will receive the punishment they deserve for their own sins, or they will receive Jesus’ gift of taking our punishment for our sins in our place and they will turn away from their sin, turn to Christ and be transformed to be like Jesus as believers.
God is able to open blinded spiritual eyes in ways that I cannot. I don’t have that power. But God is able to draw people to Himself through the power of His Spirit working in them. My responsibility is to love God, to seek to please and obey Him, to be filled with His Spirit, to grow in Christ, to love others with His love and to share His truth in love. I trust God with the rest.
Christ in me, the hope of glory!
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:12-29
But I Am a GOOD Person! – We may think this, but only God is good according to Christ!